Storm Ciara Reveals 130 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Footprint On Isle Of Wight
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While Storm Ciara undoubtedly caused chaos all over the UK last week, the unprecedented wind levels also uncovered an interesting archaeological discovery too.
According to fossil experts, the strong gusts of wind have revealed the footprint of a dinosaur believed to have roamed the Earth some 130 million years ago.
The large claw-like print was found on a beach on the Isle of Wight and is believed to belong to an ancient theropod dinosaur known as a Neovenator or a Spinosaurus Baryonx – which you have to admit, both sound pretty cool.
Neovenator translates to ‘new hunter’ and refers to a carnivorous dinosaur which measured around 7.6 metres long and could weigh up to a whopping two tonnes. Meanwhile, a Spinosaurus Baryonyx was in the same family, however its diet mostly made up of fish.
Meat eater or not, both would be rather intimidating to bump into on a relaxed walk down the beach – particularly in the chilled coastal area of Sandown, where the footprint was discovered.
The unusual footprint was first found just a few short days ago, on February 12, by the Wight Coast Fossils Group.
Sharing photos of the incredible discovery on Facebook, the fossil experts explained:
The pointed toes of this track may indicate a large theropod, perhaps Neovenator or the Spinosaur Baryonyx. The mottled clays the footprint is preserved in are a paleosol, an ancient soil horizon, representing an area of boggy overbank marshland that seasonally dried and flooded.
Our track maker was crossing this environment 130 million years ago, heading southwest in what is now Sandown Bay, leaving these huge tracks in the boggy soil. Behind the animal lay a range of low forested hills, while ahead lay a flat floodplain landscape dotted with floodplain forests, river channels, and herds of herbivorous dinosaurs.
Clay footprints such as these can be relatively common in our Wessex Formation exposures, but do not hold up to the forces of erosion for long. Sadly they will typically disappear in a couple of days or weeks, as the tide wears down the soft clays of the Wessex Formation, an awesome but fleeting glimpse of a time long gone, lying in plain sight on our coastline!
As the group explained, the footprint may now disappear as the tides wash over the soft clay, so thank goodness they managed to snap some pictures of the fascinating discovery beforehand.
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Topics: Animals, dinosaurs, Isle of Wight
CreditsWight Fossil Group/Facebook
Wight Fossil Group/Facebook